Since having been a full member of Bayern Munich, Mario Gotze has found himself either recovering from injuries or upsetting club officials for his apparel decisions which go against the team’s official sponsor. Yet, a closer look will show that he is slowly starting to make a mark for an already loaded Bayern Munich team, thus making them that much more lethal.
Gotze’s return began ironically enough as he was drafted into the German National Team for the final two 2014 World Cup Qualifiers earlier this month. Many were surprised that he was called into the team by Germany coach Joachim Low given that Gotze had not played a competitive game in over a month, and there was no guarantee that they could rely on him for anything more than 45 minutes per game.
In hindsight, him having joined the national team ended up being the best thing for Gotze and Bayern Munich as he got to participate in full, competitive practices and saw playing time in two games.
Taking the rhythm and confidence from having participated in Germany’s final two World Cup Qualifiers, Gotze has returned to Bayern Munich and in was seamlessly slotted into games for Pep Guardiola, who has used the player as a substitute since his return. In addition to coming on, Gotze has made a major impact in Bundesliga and Champions League play.
Against Mainz with Bayern Munich down 1-0 art the half, Gotze came on as a second-half substitute and was the driving force behind Bayern Munich turning a 1-0 halftime deficit into a 4-1 win with two assists. In the following game against Viktoria Plzen, he helped Bayern beat the Czech club 5-0 by scoring a goal and assisting on another to finish it off in style. Finally, this past weekend, Gotze played 65 minutes and helped create several scoring chances.
The common thread in each of the last three games is that Gotze has provide that needed playmaking and attacking threat at moments which either helped Bayern finish off an opponent or gave them that kick start it needed to turn a game around. For Bayern Munich and Guardiola, having a fully fit, healthy and contributing Gotze means that Guardiola can manipulate and give opposition even more headaches, given the expanded tactical options.
Even though he has yet to play a game for Bayern Munich as a starter, which is not as bad or egregious as some might claim, Gotze has proven that he is fully fit in the last few weeks. A healthy Gotze means Pep Guardiola can now employ him anywhere along the attacking midfield and winger positions in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3 formations and by extension, make Bayern Munich even more lethal than they already were as a squad.